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Edited by Paulos Z. Huang

The Yearbook of Chinese Theology is an international, ecumenical and fully peer-reviewed series on Chinese theology in English. Its main focus is on interdisciplinary, contextual, and cross-cultural studies in the areas of Biblical Studies, Church History, Systematic Theology, Practical Theology, and Comparative Religions. The Yearbook also features articles exploring wider issues in church and society. The Yearbook of Chinese Theology thus meets the growing demand for the study of the new academic discipline of Christianity in a Chinese context.

In this first volume, harmony and Sinicization of Christianity in China are studied from a systematic theological viewpoint. Confucian Ruism and the Human-God relationship are investigated from a practical theological perspective. Articles on the rebellious Taiping tianguo movement and on a Fujian Catholic community shed light on the history of Christianity in China, and two articles draw attention to the Bible in relation to literature and general public. Furthermore, a review of the Protestant Church is offered from the viewpoint of Civil Society construction, and Chinese contemporary ideology and historical Nestorianism are researched using methodology derived from the field of Comparative Religions. This volume offers genuine Chinese theological research, which was previously unavailable in English, by top scholars in the study of Christianity in China.

Series:

Xinping Zhuo

Abstract

The development of contemporary Chinese religion has its own social background. A typical characteristic of it is co-existence with globalization. The present development and future possibilities of religious existence in China should be based on the corresponding relationship with Chinese society, specifically in the contextualization of global engagement. Many people hope and believe that religion can play a very positive role(s) in contemporary China, in line with its global connection. Alhough certain problems still remain, the theme of understanding religion has a very special role within the context of the Chinese effort of constructing a harmonious society.

Series:

Donghua Zhu

Abstract

The expression of Trinity in the Dunhuang document Zunjing 尊經 is traceable back to the ontological speculations of Antiochene theologian Theodore of Mopsuestia. By a comparative study of Theodore’s concept of qnoma ܐܡܘܢܩ and the Confucian idea of Shen 身, this paper is an attempt to retrieve the original meaning of person as “holistic-qnomic manifestation”, thereby providing a fitting analogical meaning between two central concepts, a Christian concept of person and a Chinese concept of shen 身.

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Haibo Huang

Abstract

This paper is based on a review of the work and various activities of Protestant churches in China, in order to understand the efforts that are being made by them to approach a civil society under construction. This entire paper can be divided into six parts: I. Chinese civil society under Construction and functional orientation of Protestant churches in China; II. Specific approaches to a civil society: social service and social care; III. Foundation of approaching a civil society: theology and church organizations construction; IV. International vision required for approaching a civil society: promotion of overseas exchange; V. Sustaining motive power of approaching a civil society: self-cognition and introspection; VI. Conclusion. This paper holds that the “factors of civil society” that Protestant churches in China contain have presented themselves in various ways in recent years. This is a good foundation for Protestantism in China to engage in the construction of civil society, providing contributions for a harmonious society.

Series:

Zhigang Zhang

Abstract

This essay investigates the “Sinicization of Christianity” from an academic standpoint. The goal of this essay is: The objective and rational discussion on how Christianity could be able to meld into Chinese culture, the Chinese nation, and in particular, contemporary Chinese society. The investigation is presented in three parts: a comparison between the histories of Christianity in China and Korea, a study of the ecological situation of religions in contemporary China, and, finally, new developments in international research on inter-religious dialogue. The article concludes that social practice should be the main criterion for testing religious faith. Furthermore, based on China’s current conditions, the best course for the Sinicization of Christianity is its achieving positive and important contributions to the continued reform and opening-up of Chinese society as well as to its development and progress.

Series:

Lauren F. Pfister

Abstract

Having characterized the severe planetary environmental problems faced in our age, this article seeks to apply a revised form of the dialectics of harmonization promoted by Prof. Chung-ying Cheng, originally articulated in 1977 to approach a 21st century Ruist ( “Confucian”)-inspired environmental ethics. The content of this article is portrayed under seven “meditations” as follows, and each taking a relatively different dialectical step to arrive at some new concepts and ethical arguments to justify this particular form of environmental ethics. First, the immense irony within China is that some contemporary Ruist (and Buddhist and Daoist) scholars have written about environmental ethics, portraying an image that suggests that there are great historical traditions related to this realm. Nevertheless, even as late as 2013 the two most polluted cities in the contemporary world are in China (Linfen and Tianying). Secondly, it is argued that the insights of Jacques Ellul’s critiques of technological society and its systematic values have not been adequately conceptualized in traditional Ruist ethics, and so becomes a shortcoming of contemporary Ruist-inspired environmental ethics (which tend to advocate a “union or harmony of Heaven and humans”, allowing no special place for techno-scientific values, systems, and tools). Thirdly, symbolic resources for a “reverence for life” within different Ruist texts are explored. Fourthly, the six principles of the dialectics of harmonization promoted by Prof. Chung-ying Cheng in 1977 are presented and critically analyzed in the light of 21st century developments in the post-traditional Chinese philosophical and cultural context. Fifthly, a modulated form of the six principles of the dialectics of harmonization is elaborated in response to the critical questions raised in the previous meditation. Sixthly, a new polarity is presented, under the rubric of “artificial – human”, explored in terms of the values, powers and other aspects that are worked out in various relativities and oppositions that arise within this polarity. It is argued that this is an important addition to the list of polarities that should be included and applied through the revised version of the dialectics of harmonization. Seventh and finally, I argue that when working dialectically toward a more sensitive complimentarity within the artificial – human polarity, we should identify the subject of our reverence as the “vital environing whole”, which I further develop into a form of “familially familiar world” drawing upon Zhang Zai’s vision in The Western Inscription and adapt it to our 21st century context. It is argued that this new conception of our vital environing whole is worthy of reverence, and with the moral attitudes promoted by Zhang Zai, this conception leads us toward a feasible way to understand the “reverence for life” and can discern ways of “living with reverence” that includes not only suitable care for other living things but for our needy planetary home as well.

Series:

Changping Zha

Abstract

After introducing the sevenfold dimensions of relations within the logic of the world-picture, this essay holds that there seem to be three kinds of relations between humans and God (or ‘the transcendent’/ ‘the ultimate reality’) in logic: (1) where the two oppose each other (are separate), (2) stand side by side, and (3) combine into one. This paper primarily examines the reasons why many patterns or images such as ‘rascal’, ‘giggle’, ‘boredom’, ‘abreaction’ and ‘rage’ have appeared in Chinese contemporary art since the 1990s. By describing the particular artworks of Daozi (his ‘Saint Water-ink Painting’), the Gao Bothers (their change of creation), Qian Zhusheng (his prints), Wang Lu (his oil paintings on the theme of the Bible), Ding Fang and Zhu Jiuyang (his ‘picture of the ripple’), the author proceeds to a discussion about the specific contents of these works of art. The discussion is set in the context of an overall theme, which is the relation between humanity and God. The art works themselves can be seen to be embryonic forms of this dimension in the thought-picture of Chinese contemporary art. The author draws the conclusion that Christian artists in China should connect their personal spiritual life with the cultural life of their artistic creations and in this way absorb modern artistic language, along with its individuality and sense of history. This is in order to develop the transcendental space of Chinese contemporary art, forming spirituality within its conceptual dimensions.

Series:

Weichi Zhou

Abstract

In Taiping Rebellion documents, the Taiping Heavenly Chronicle is the first and most important book that recorded Hong Xiuquan’s 1837 vision in detail. It helps us to understand the origin of the Taiping rebellion and its Christian characteristics. The author reveals that, during the writing of the Taiping Heavenly Chronicle, Hong Xiuquan referred to the Revelation and borrowed many words, images, and themes from the latter. At the same time, as a literal interpreter, he misunderstood some words and images, and formed a new Christian heretic sect/ new religion. In the formation of the Taiping rebellion, the Bible, especially the “Revelation,” had great influence on its ideology.

Series:

Xianqing Zhang

Abstract

This paper aims to discuss the relationship between the spreading of Catholicism and the changes of the Chinese lineage marriage network. By analysing the marriage conditions of the Feng lineage of the Shuangfeng Village, who live in the Middle of the Lian Brook in Fu’an county located in the east of Fujian Province, the author points out that when Catholicism gradually grew rooted in some of the rural lineages in the 18th century, it consequently brought a new comparatively stable lineage marriage network built on Catholic faith in an area. This kind of lineage marriage pattern built on Catholic belief at least challenged the relationship between the intermarriage circle and the market area in certain aspects. Thus, it’s shown that the influences of the social factors like religion on China’s lineage marriage network construction should not be underestimated.

Series:

Gong Liang

Abstract

The fierce conflicts and severe confrontations between father and son, husband and wife, older and younger brothers are the recurring theme in Greek mythology, while Hebrew patriarchal legends are threaded with scenarios of warm and harmonious family life. Every time contradictions loomed large and tragedies appeared to be inevitable, the authors of the legends always managed to dissolve them by, for instance, a “father’s blessing” that mediated family disputes and reinstated the domestic balance. Through close reading of the narrative text, this paper analyzes the family values demonstrated in Greek mythology and Hebrew patriarchal legends. The characteristics of Greek and Hebrew cultures are then examined from the perspectives of world-view, ethical values, and national spirit.